Crazy Brother’s Birthday Cake

Today is brother Marty’s birthday! He probably isn’t reading this, but Happy Birthday, dear brother!

For the last several years, I have baked him a cake and delivered it to his workplace. DotMom always insisted that everyone should have a cake on their birthday, so I have tried to keep up the tradition.

For Marty, she always made a complicated chocolate chip cake with boiled white frosting. It was delicious, but I’m not that ambitious — and I don’t have that much time to devote to the endeavor.

Instead, I have once again made what has become my favorite cake — the Crazy Cake. I don’t know why anybody would ever buy a chocolate cake mix when putting one together from scratch is this easy. What I like best is that it can all be mixed up in one pan — no bowls to wash! And I use a disposable aluminum pan on occasions such as this so I don’t have to retrieve any hardware after it’s consumed.

To make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly combined, I use a gallon-size zipper top plastic bag. (I have designated one just for this purpose, just store it away slightly dusty from the flour and cocoa powder.)

I know I’ve shared this recipe before and probably will again. It’s just that good.

Chocolate Crazy Cake

Directly in a 9- by 13-inch pan, mix 3 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 6 tablespoons cocoa, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons baking soda (this is the part I do in the plastic bag, shaking the bag thoroughly before putting contents into the pan.

Make three indentations in the dry mixture. In the first, put 2 tablespoons vanilla; second, 2/3 cup oil; third, 2 tablespoons vinegar. Stir in 2 cups cold water and mix well, being sure to get the flour mixture out of the corners of the pan (I use a small whisk.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until top springs back when pressed lightly. (The original recipe in DotMom’s cookbook says 35 minutes, but I have discovered that in my oven it is not nearly enough time; you may want to check yours at 35 minutes to be on the safe side.)

Frost as desired or eat plain.